Monday, October 31, 2011

Shallot Smashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

So it's not too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving. It's easy to feel sorry for a vegetarian on Thanksgiving (or think we're a bit mad), when you think about a Thanksgiving without gravy. This mushroom gravy makes a pleasant alternative. My omnivore husband requests this gravy, and I've been asked to bring it to holiday parties.

Both these recipes come from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. I've modified the mashed potato recipe a bit, because it's what I had on hand, but truthfully, the original is better. (Note: I've labeled this recipe as vegan. The gravy is, the potatoes are absolutely not)

While making this I was listening to: Decemberists, Picaresque

Shallot Smashed Potatoes (serves 6)
  • 4 C Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks, skins on
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
1. Place the potatoes, 1 tsp of salt, and enough water to just cover the potatoes, in a heavy pot. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until easily pierced with fork. 
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the shallots, and saute on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. 
3. Once the shallots are soft, add the salt, pepper and cream to the shallots and keep warm on low heat. 
4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the pot. Gradually add the shallot-cream mixture and mash, leaving some chunks into the potatoes. Add additional cream, salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately. 

Mushroom Gravy (makes 3-4 C)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 C diced onions
  • 4 C sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 C dry sherry
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 3/4 C vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 C cold water
  • salt 
1. Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Saute the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until they've begun to soften, stirring often. 
2. Add the mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Increase heat, and deglaze pan with the sherry. In a separate saucepan, add soy sauce and stock, and add the contents from the mushroom pan. Cover the saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pepper, and dissolved cornstarch and stir constantly until thickened and evenly blended. Remove from heat and serve immediately. 

Kitchen Notes: For the potatoes: The original recipe calls for twice as much shallots as I've used, and I recommend using the additional shallots. The original also calls for milk, and more butter. I reduced the amount of butter and substituted heavy cream for the milk, since I didn't have any milk. This substitution was indistinguishable from the original. I'd also like to try substituting leeks for the shallots. For the mushrooms: Feel free to experiment with the seasonings. I've used several different kinds of mushrooms, none better than the other, just different. This time I used oyster. I just wouldn't use plain old white mushrooms. Don't be concerned about the amount of soy sauce in here, it doesn't overwhelm.

Verdict? So, I went 10+ Thanksgivings with dry potatoes. No gravy, just potatoes. With that in mind, I'm very biased with regards to how much I love this gravy. These potatoes are some of the best mashed potatoes I've had, the shallot butter makes them blissful.

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